Why I Joined the WTO Protest in 1999

In the early to late 90’s, trade agreements like NAFTA were being proposed. The agreements were being worked out in total secrecy. The players involved were mostly provided by corporate elites. Labor, human rights and environmental groups were not invited. This was no different from how today’s TPP was negotiated.

The WTO, which I gave the nickname – The World Trashed Organization, was very much a part of these global trade agreements. In 1995, the WTO replaced GATT- General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. GATT was formed after WWII to help improve post war economies and foster trade.

GATT likely was started with the intention to benefit most people, and many economies did well. Large parts of the populations of many nations began to prosper. This was during an era where finance didn’t have as much control as it became to have. It was a time when people trusted each other because, in large part, people were honest, hard-working folk.

There were inequality issues, for sure, but in general, it was a prosperous time for many Americans. College was free for returning GI’s, and inexpensive for others. Large numbers of people became educated, which not only helped expand the economy, it also helped to expand awareness. Like the awareness that not everyone was receiving the benefits from a growing economy, nor being treated equally.

But that lasted only until greed took over.

From Investopedia, The WTO  “rules become a part of a country’s domestic legal system.” “…if a country is a member to the WTO, its local laws cannot contradict WTO rules and regulations, which currently govern approximately 97% of all world trade.”

If a country’s labor, human rights or environmental laws interfere with a corporations ability to make money, that corporation can sue the country, through the WTO, to either change the laws or pay them an often very large sum of money.

Countries lose their sovereignty because of the WTO and trade agreements. Corporations file suit against a country with the WTO and the process takes place, once again, in secrecy. Three corporate lawyers are chosen to hear the case and decide which side has the stronger case. On other days, these same lawyers often bring suits against countries on behalf of corporations.

Once a decision is made, there’s no appeal process. It’s a done deal.

These are some of the reasons I was proud to stand with thousands of citizens to let our distaste for what the WTO stands for be known.

I am encouraged that maybe enough people have finally woken up to the fact that this is a very important issue that we need to deal with.  An article in Financial Times, by one of Britain’s most influential economists alludes to this awakening. Capitalism and democracy: the strain is showing:

Meanwhile, those of us who wish to preserve both liberal democracy and global capitalism must confront serious questions. One is whether it makes sense to promote further international agreements that tightly constrain national regulatory discretion in the interests of existing corporations. My view increasingly echoes that of Prof Lawrence Summers of Harvard, who has argued that “international agreements [should] be judged not by how much is harmonised or by how many barriers are torn down but whether citizens are empowered”. Trade brings gains but cannot be pursued at all costs.
Both the Sanders and Trump campaigns have understood, to various degrees, the importance that trade issues resound for many American citizens. The Green Party has been at the forefront of this battle for a long time. Hillary realized that she needed to change her outward appearing stance to get elected. (More on this later)

Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)

A BuzzFeed News investigation has a two part series on the Global Super Court addressing issues with the ISDS. Over 3,000 international trade treaties include some form of ISDS. The TPP will expand the ISDS process.

An article in The Huffington Post explains how investors are using the ISDS process to make huge sums at taxpayers expense. The Big Problem With The Trans-Pacific Partnership’s Super Court That We’re Not Talking About

Both are very worthwhile reads if you want to get an understanding about this very important part of trade agreements that many people around the world are pushing back against, and the trouble that ISDS has caused for many countries. Not to mention how it is being used to help widen the wealth gap.

To Social Media or Not? That is the Question.

At a dilemma. I’ve avoided social media for a variety of reasons. Many, if not all reasons, are still valid to me. Is there any way, while working on a project of the sort that I’m undertaking, that I can bypass using FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the ilk? Would love to hear thoughts from people.

I’m beginning to think that it’s not possible to get a message out and respond to input without using social media. Would like to hear thoughts and suggestions.

Update (11/6/16): I joined the evil empire :/ Created a Facebook account today. Adjusted the privacy settings as best I could for now. Will have to look into that more thoroughly.

I am feeling like we’ve crossed the tipping point. It would be very difficult to go back to a time when a number of entities didn’t have enough information about you that they possibly know you better than you do.

Learned that real quick while creating my profile. FB quickly popped up with where I lived as a teen, without me giving it much of a clue.


Who gets to choose
What’s too political
What gets a bye?

Parking structures are political
Improving biking is political
Improving access to parks is political

Who gets to draw that line in the sand?
I can understand why people want
that line in the sand.

Does that line
Make it more difficult
To find solutions?

I do understand the need to take a break.
From dealing with important issues.
It’s easier to ignore
so life can be enjoyed to the max.

To not do the work that’s REALLY needed
that might make life a little easier
for generations to follow.

Hey, I got mine.
I worked for it.
I deserve it.

Hey, I spent a lot of money
So I could feel good
About driving a fuel efficient vehicle
For as many miles as I want.

Or to the airport
To fly to some exotic place
To post selfies

With no concern
For the degradation
That that travel causes

Each of us has a large role to play
In the lives of our future children
Each choice we make
Has an effect down the line.

If we could pay attention to that
Ask when we have a choice to make
What would Jesus choose?
What would Muhammad choose?
What would the Buddha choose?
What would Love choose?

There are so many issues that need to be dealt with.
It’s overwhelming
And easy to give up.

And that’s what those in power want.

Keep people too busy
Too distracted
Too fearful
To take a stand

Pit one side against the other
Divide and conquer.

It prevents people working together
To stand up to bring about change
That has positive effects
For the majority of people

We are all in this struggle together
We are separated by superficial differences
By unfounded fears


A New Beginning

I’ve been threatening to start this for a long time.
It’s not threatening to anyone but me.

Welcome to my stream of consciousness.
Never know where that might lead.
Welcome along to a journey.

Today has been quite a day.
An intense sort of day.
Been a long time since I’ve chosen to be pissed off.

Thank you WG for helping to bring that about.
I mean that sincerely.

A lesson learned long ago was to pay attention to those times of intensity.
Those times can be a wealth of learning.
When I encounter a strong emotion,
I look inward.
And get to learn a bit more about myself.

And you provided me with that.
So I thank you.

The discussion on hrw earlier was about politics.
LIFE is political.
It’d be damn boring if it wasn’t.
Not that being bored is necessarily a bad thing.

To be able to sit back and think of nothing…

Politics happens often without recognition that it is political.
RT’s discussion about bike lanes is political.
So many statements are political.

Most political statements are about helping improve people’s lives.
Isn’t that what we all desire?
Maybe, it’s helping our children’s grandchildren improve their life.

Which is likely to not be an easy life.
Unless we change.

This is a crucial time.
It’s also a great opportunity.
It can also be a time of despair for many.

Many have given up.
And many live in delusion.

Paraphrasing what raised eyebrows said
History is in the view of those that have censorship power.

I have had some posts censored (deleted).
On both sides of the aisle.
I recall seeing posts of others being deleted.
And discussions about posts being censored.

I will admit, my memory is not all that great
for some things.
Especially conversations.
And people’s names.

So the conversation that I recall having with some dude,
I think he said his name was Larry,
Stating his remorse for his causing you to go,
May have caused me to misconstrue.

Or, another way of saying it,
I assumed something that led me to think
You’re departure was caused by censorship.

Never did like to assume.
Makes an ass out of u and me.

Mea culpa.

And I can certainly understand and relate to personal reasons
for being silent

Wonderful to hear from you.
And as others have let you know,
We do miss you.

I did question if it was really you.
I thought about contacting you to be sure.
It’s easy to create an online persona.
But I’m certain enough that was you.

It would be wonderful to have you back.
But understood if that’s not to be.